Crank the podcast machine one more time. The Renegade Report is out and your preeminent FSU podcasters, Herc and NolebraKai discuss the developments from spring practice.
This is quite the understatement, but the new coaches have brought new attitudes, many of which are far more aggressive than their predecessors. They’re more abrasive and in-your-face, but don’t let that worry you. That may just be what the doctor ordered. Notably, Sal Suneri has brought not only a winning attitude to the team, but a sense of urgency and aggressiveness that the defense hasn’t seen before. For instance, Sunseri called out Mario Edwards and asked him to get in better shape. To correct the record, it isn’t that Edwards was in bad shape, but Sunseri is going to demand a lot out of Edwards–to be an every down defensive end. In order to do that, Edwards must be in the best shape he’s ever been. But by doing so, that gives the FSU defense more versatility. If Edwards can become an every down player, and be able to play in any package that Pruitt calls, you can change packages without changing the players and telegraphing your strategy.
That more abrasive style is timely and appropriate for this team. Whereas the defense needed someone with a nurturing touch (Stoops) in 2009, we now need someone here in 2013 to push the players harder (Sunseri, Kelly, Pruitt). It’s important to note that this style wouldn’t have worked back in 2009-2010. The players were down, beaten, and dejected. They needed someone to come in, lift their spirits, and bring them back to life. That’s exactly what guys like Stoops and DJ Elliot did. They weren’t soft coaches, but they weren’t overly aggressive. They gave the players confidence when they didn’t have any left. Right now, in 2013, the confidence has been built and now they can take the next step. This is very similar to the coaching change from Tony Dungy to Jon Gruden. Dungy built the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team down on their luck, into a solid program, nurtured them, and gave them confidence. Then, Gruden took them to the next level.
Randy Sanders.He’s still learning the playbook, but it’s clear that he needed to master the new language in order to be named the OC. Randy will also be vital to providing input into the offense. It’s Randy’s job to provide checks and balances. This is consistent with what we’ve seen in the past—the previous coaching staff didn’t have the experience to question Jimbo. Coley and Craig only had a handful of coaching years between them whereas Sanders has nearly two full decades of experience alone as an assistant and offensive coordinator. What will also be fun to watch is Sanders and the QBs developing together—because they will be learning the system together, it may help speed up the process for both Sanders and the QBs, as opposed to either learning the system on their own.
Rick Trickett. This news broke in perfect timing for the podcast. Trickett received a new extension and is signed through 2015. This moves first leaves you disappointed. Many thought that this would be Trickett’s last season and that he would be retiring at the end of the year. We truly don’t know the strategy behind this move, but was, at the very least, done to avoid FSU being negative recruited. I think it’s also important to note that Jimbo believes in Trickett. Yes, they are friends, but friendships can go bad if their professional relationship is souring. It’s clear they both believe they are on the right path.
The podcast raised some great points. First, even though Trickett has had some trouble keeping players, the ones who stayed turned out to be anywhere from pretty good to excellent. Second, they presented the idea that Trickett should corner the junior college market, especially offensive tackles. These JUCO players are a little older, more focused, more mature, and more willing to put up with the Trickett treatment in order to make it to the NFL. Unfortunately, this strategy doesn’t give FSU a very good continuity plan, but if we can get an average of 2-3 years from them, it would be worthwhile. Freshman, who hold high rankings from the recruiting services, are just not going to be interested in dealing with Trickett.
Last week, the media got a chance to interview all four quarterbacks. We didn’t learn a whole lot, though, because the interviews didn’t stand out. If anything, Trickett has the most confidence, which is what you would expect from someone who has been in the system this long. No one really separated themselves through the interviews. We are going to have to wait until Fall to find out who our starting quarterback will be against Pittsburgh.
In separate interviews with Cam Erving and Davonte Freeman, we have seen the process of younger players become leaders. The juniors and seniors on this team, who were helped by their predecessors like EJ Manuel and Lonnie Pryor, have come along, stepped up, and begun mentoring the younger players. EJ did a great job of making Cam Erving feel comfortable—not stressing too much about missed blocks or assignments. Erving is now trying to do that for the new quarterbacks and reciprocate. Meanwhile, Mario Pender is being groomed by Freeman and Wilder. And now, instead of worrying about our depth at running back, it turns out that Pender is going to be a staple of the running game. FSU should have no problems running the ball.
The program, at this point, is full of leadership—years ago, we didn’t have this style of mentoring. The juniors and seniors in this class are now passing the torch and helping their younger counterparts. Jimbo has clearly established a system of leadership within the program and whereas a few years ago the coaches were the only ones developing the younger players, now it’s truly a team atmosphere where the older players are mentoring the younger players.
Collectively, fans are getting more information this year. One of the most exciting developments is a new formation with Christian Jones at defensive end and Telvin Smith and Karlos Williams at linebacker. This is an attempt that is aimed at exploiting our talent and versatility.
Last year, all we needed was our defensive ends to get to the quarterback. We didn’t have to be very creative about getting to the quarterback. The impression, from the player interviews, is that last year’s defense wasn’t good enough. Pruitt and Sunseri just come from a different background—creating an unpredictable, multiple defense. They are adding a dimension, and trying more multiple looks–like showing a 3-4, and quickly switching a 4-3.
Another great development is that Chris Casher is getting reps on the 1st team defense. This may be his incentive to do step up his game. Thankfully, while many were initially worried, defensive end is better than what we thought it would be; hopefully between Edwards, Casher, Walker, and Newberry, this may be a strong 2-deep rotation.
Meanwhile, we are continuing to see the defensive tackles dominate. Right now, Goldman and Jernigan are on the 1st team. Jacobbi McDaniel, however, is making a comeback and will be anchoring the 2nd team defensive line. Last year, many worried about whether Jacobbi would make it, but instead of being passed up, he has solidified his spot on the 2nd team defensive line. This year, he will be at full strength, at a solid 290 pounds. This is it, though, for McDaniel. The money year.
[We would like to say a special thank you for the shout out to ChopChat. ChopChat is very excited to be part of the Sports Illustrated college community on FanSided and even more excited to feature the Renegade Report. At ChopChat, we pride ourselves on creating a synergy of the various FSU communities. We hope that through integrating the Renegade Report, we can begin creating a new dialogue. There are many platforms that FSU fans can visit (Warchant, Noles247, Tomahawk Nation), but many of those platforms have pre-set and pre-determined judgments about FSU and the state of FSU football. At ChopChat, we like to go against the grain a bit, and think outside the box. Why we wanted to partner with Renegade Report was to be able to provide you, the FSU fanatic, with a well-rounded analysis of the issues affecting FSU. Thank you to Herc and NolebraKai for your top-notch analysis.]
For the full audio: